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How to get more out of scripture

October 22, 2009

bible-study

A lot of Christians spend a (semi-) regular amount of time reading scripture. For pleasure, or to ease our consciouses, we do it. We know we’re supposed to. We know it’s good for us. We know there is much to learn.

And a lot of Christians (at least) occasionally find themselves skimming over the words on the page and thinking about something completely unrelated. Sometimes we find ourselves reading as though we understand, and realize when we get up to do something else that we have no idea what we just read. Sometimes we read and understand – at least on a surface level – but never seem to break into anything new.

I gleaned a great study tip from a Onething interview with Misty Edwards years ago that has opened up so much scripture for me. At first it seemed weird, but as I got used to it I started explaining it to friends. Everyone – so far – has tried it and loves it.

So I thought I’d share.

I journal.

“Journal” is the short term. Really, I brain-dump on paper. One verse at a time. I examine every strong word, every phrase, every conjunction and question it in writing. I recently started doing this with Romans (which may be something I’m not ready for – Romans is pretty dense), so example:

Romans 1:5 reads, “through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake;”

I wrote,

“Grace and ‘apostleship’ (the divine calling of our lives) come through Jesus. Grace and calling are for ‘obedience to the faith.’ Grace and purpose are not for liberty to continue in sin, for our own peace of mind, etc. We receive grace through Jesus so we can be obedient ‘among all nations’ – where ever I am, and in the presence of the whole world.

“‘…for His name …’ Our obedience is not for our own gain (prosperity, comfort, Christian-points), it’s for His glory. *We receive grace through Jesus so our lives can glorify Him in the world. It’s not about me.”

You can get some pretty amazing revelation.

Of course, it’s not the ultimate study technique. Over-views are good too, and sometimes you just need to read the stories presented as stories. But it’s been a great tool for me, and some of my friends, and hopefully for you too.

What do you do to maximize your Bible study time?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jacob Zarris permalink
    October 25, 2009 4:06 pm

    Lex, I really like this idea, but at the same time taking scripture verse by verse is very often how the Bible is misunderstood. I know you know that, its just a simple warning. Although it is a great start for people who don’t journal at all in their bible or about it.

    • Lex permalink
      October 27, 2009 10:57 am

      Agreed. Hence, “Of course, it’s not the ultimate study technique. Over-views are good too, and sometimes you just need to read the stories presented as stories.” :) Context is key.

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